The Cooking Probe Reimagined

The Cooking Probe Reimagined

Three Appliances Now in the Palm of Your Hand

By: Chef Owen, Culinary Director

Why Make a Smart Probe?

Over the last few years, our team of chefs, culinary scientists, and engineers have made dozens of discoveries into the power of precise temperature control on the cooktop. Hestan Cue Smart Cookware allows home cooks to perfectly sear proteins like scallops, make delicious sauces, fry amazing eggs, and numerous cooking techniques. All of this being said, there was one culinary blind spot that required many hours of testing and tuning to accomplish and that was cooking with large volumes of liquid. To be more specific, techniques like deep frying, sous vide cooking, and candy making were not as straightforward as we would have liked. While our guided recipes used a complex algorithm to accomplish these culinary techniques, it was very hard for home chefs using Control Mode to replicate this kind of cooking with the same precision that we could provide in our guided recipes. 

What does this mean? Let’s take a step back and look at how Cue Smart Cookware measures temperature. Remember, all Cue cookware reads temperature from the base of the pan. Essentially the sensors are right below the cooking surface of the pan, yielding an extremely accurate temperature reading which is great for searing proteins, making simple pan sauces, perfect pancakes, as well as shallowing frying, and many other functions. But it gets a bit tricky when you are trying to read the temperature of 2 liters of oil or water or 3 cups of sugar when making chewy caramels for example. Look at it this way, in most cases, the heat of the pan is the ideal cooking medium, and automatically moderating that temperature provides extremely consistent culinary results. When it comes to frying or sous vide it is the liquid that is used as the cooking medium, so it is critical that we are able to measure and control its temperature. 

You may be asking yourself, “But wait, I see dozens of recipes that use large amounts of liquid without a probe throughout the Hestan Cue App. How is this possible?” The answer is simple, we have some extremely smart and talented team at Hestan Smart Cooking who can make things that seem impossible, possible. 

We found through specific algorithms and temperature offsets (the temperature difference between the base of the cookware and the body of liquid) we could achieve guaranteed results with these types of recipes. That being said, it made recipe development very complex and also limited Cue users when cooking in Control Mode. It wasn’t uncommon to get a support call from a home chef reporting that their frying oil wasn’t getting to temperature when they set their Chef’s Pot to 350°F. When this happened we generally pointed people in the direction of hacking one of our other frying recipes in order to create their culinary masterpieces. While this loophole in the Cue system was something that we could solve for in the guided recipes, we felt as if we had let our home chefs down. 


What Does a Smart Probe Even Do? 

Enter the Hestan Cue Smart Probe! It’s safe to say that the current market or use of cooking probes is generally geared towards cooking meat. While there is no arguing the utility and effectiveness of cooking proteins with the help of a connected temperature probe, there are so many other use cases that benefit from cooking with a probe. As we all know the ability to monitor the cooking temperature of an ingredient is extremely helpful, but we couldn’t stop there. With the Hestan Cue technology, we knew that we could make the first cooking probe that not only monitors temperature but communicates directly with the cooktop to actively control the temperature. Plus by making the probe smart, we no longer have to rely on the cookware to read and communicate the temperature, so the Smart Probe can be used with any induction-safe cookware- not just Cue Smart Cookware. A probe that regulates the exact temperature while cooking is not just a game-changer but the core utility is of a major benefit to both professional chefs and home cooks alike. 

The Hestan Cue Smart Probe is truly groundbreaking and something that both our engineering science and culinary teams have been wishing for for years. The intrigue of the ability to provide a seamless experience when it came to frying, sous vide cooking, and candy making (working with hot sugar) led us to create the probe we always wanted. Let’s explore some of our favorite cooking functions and recipes we’ve created for the new Smart Probe


Effortless Candy Making

For someone who has little experience with baking and pastry, I have always steered clear of working with sugar and making caramels, toffee, and other confections. The very thought of standing over a stove with a candy thermometer while constantly adjusting the temperature from high to low while white-knuckling my way through the process draws instant anxiety. The margin of error when working with hot sugar is fairly high. If you over agitate your caramel mixture the sugar will crystalize and the process has to be completely restarted. If the heat is too aggressive the sugar can go from a silky caramel color to burnt black tar that smells terrible. 
320˚F-350˚F LIGHT CARAMEL: Sauces, Praline, Coating Molds
Best temperature for silky caramel sauce, praline, or coating molds for crème caramels
300˚F-310˚F HARD CRACK: Brittle, Hard Candies, Honeycomb
Perfect for brittles, hard candies, honeycomb, butter toffee, as well as for dipping fruit and profiteroles for Croquembouche
270˚F-290˚F SOFT CRACK: Maple Taffy, Light Toffee, Firm Nougat
Ideal for maple taffy, light toffee, butterscotch, or firm nougats
250˚F-266˚F HARD BALL: Chewy Caramels
Perfect for chewy caramels or nougats
245˚F-248˚F FIRM BALL: Taffy, Gummies, Italian Meringue 
Best for taffy, firmer marshmallows, gummies, or Italian meringues
234˚F-245˚F SOFT BALL: Marshmallows, Buttercream, Fudge
Great for marshmallows, buttercream, or fudge
230˚F-234˚F THREAD: Syrups 
Perfect for tasty syrups

"When working with sugar syrups and all its applications in candy making, nothing beats a probe when it comes to reading the right temperature. Most candy recipes are easy enough if you have a trustworthy tool that will measure the right temperature without fearing mercury contamination. Old fashion thermometers are bulky, difficult to keep clean, and can be sensitive to temperature shock (and that's all they do!). The Cue Smart Probe has become my go-to tool when it comes to candy making because it's just as easy as attaching it and cooking! And candy making is just the beginning, it is amazing that just one tool can handle so many other techniques that a regular candy thermometer couldn’t. You can sous vide, slow cook, deep fry, and even poach with just one piece of equipment. When it comes to sugar, precision control is the ultimate key to success, considering how small the margin of error is, and no doubt the Cue Smart Probe is the only one up to the task." - Chef Aldana

The Hestan Cue Smart Probe makes this process so effortless that even a savory cook such as myself has been emboldened to venture out into the world of candy making. Even if it’s your first time working with sugar, the guided recipes created by the very talented Chef Aldana, are very educational and make for a fun experience that results in some of the best caramels I have ever had. Spoiler alert! One of the new recipes created for the Smart Probe is called Chocolate Bourbon Tootsie Rolls. Let that sink in. 


Precision Deep Frying

Deep frying at home is one of the most daunting culinary techniques that most home cooks steer away from. There is a lot that can go wrong and it can happen in a short amount of time. Besides the fact that hot oil can be somewhat hazardous (think of the viral deep-fried turkey accident videos that we have all seen around Thanksgiving), the margin for error when trying to properly prepare a fried recipe is gigantic. The most common issue that home cooks experience  when trying to fry on the stovetop is maintaining the proper temperature of their oil. 

375˚F French Fries, Battered Shrimp
350˚F Chicken Wings, Fritters, Seafood
325˚F Breaded Cutlets, Tenders, Nuggets
300˚F Fried Chicken, Doughnuts
A great example of frying gone wrong due to oil being too hot is the infamous fried chicken. Even with the use of a thermometer, once you drop that tender chicken into that hot pool of oil, panic sets in because the temperature starts to drop, so you crank the heat up even more. After a few short minutes, you notice that the chicken is starting to take on that beautiful golden brown color. Then panic starts to return when you notice that the chicken is starting to get darker by the second. With no other option, you pull the crispy chicken out of the vat of oil. From the looks of things, you may have saved the day, but this story does not have a delicious ending. Either upon slicing the chicken or midway through your first bite, you are horrified to discover the chicken is completely raw. This is the worst possible scenario.


You would have been better off if the oil had burned the outside, at least giving you a visual heads up of what lies beneath the surface. On the other hand, there are the equally disappointing effects of the frying oil not being hot enough. This is without a doubt one of the most unappetizing culinary mistakes that occur not just at home but in some restaurants from time to time. Oily, greasy food that hurts your stomach as well as your heart, is the direct result of cooking in oil that is not at the correct temperature. French fries and doughnuts often fall victim to this kitchen tragedy. In both cases, the fries and doughnuts act like sponges when added to oil that is not properly heated. The porous potatoes pull in the oil and become limp and mushy resulting in a mouthful of oily tuber and regret. I am not saying that frying is healthy, but I am saying under temp oil is the main culprit when we think of food being oily.


Lucky for you, the Cue Smart Probe has made both of the previously mentioned disasters a thing of the past. The Smart Probe works directly with the Cue Smart Induction Cooktop to monitor and automatically regulate temperature. This allows us to fry chicken at a precise 300°F in order to achieve a golden brown and delicious exterior while maintaining a perfectly cooked and moist interior, all without requiring you to adjust the temperature or play the guessing game as to when the chicken is done. 

The Smart Probe is constantly regulating our cooking medium, which in this case happens to be oil. It works with the Cue App and Cue Smart Induction Cooktop to make sure the oil recovers temperature when adding cold ingredients as well as making sure that our oil doesn’t get too hot. If we add another layer with our chef crafted video-guided recipes on top (think the best doughnuts ever!) you are now destined for culinary perfection.


Precision Sous Vide

Sous Vide which translates to “under vacuum” is a great culinary technique that originated in professional kitchens and has reached popularity in the home kitchen in the last five or so years. Generally, this technique is carried out with the use of an immersion circulator which moderates the temperature as well as circulates a water bath. This innovative technique allows for cooking at low temperatures by submerging vacuum sealed ingredients into the heated water bath. By slowly cooking a steak at a precise 130˚F cooking proteins becomes foolproof. After searing the cooked steak over high heat, the end result is a perfect edge to a medium-rare steak that melts in your mouth. While most cooks tend to sous vide proteins, this technique has many applications such as custards, mouth-watering vegetable dishes, and effortless sauces. There is currently only one downfall with cooking sous vide: it requires a clunky single-use immersion circulator. 

Ideal temperature for stews, soups, slow cooking, and braises
Great temperature for slow cooking large proteins like pork belly or pulled pork. Also great for preparing vegetables such as potatoes and carrots
Perfect temperature for making creamy smooth custards like creme brulee or vanilla pudding
Best temperature for tender chicken breast or chicken thighs as well as preparing easy hollandaise and other egg sauces
 Ideal temperature for preparing juicy pork chops or medium-well beef
Perfect temperature for achieving a medium steak or moist and flaky white fish.
Perfect edge-to-edge medium-rare steak or a tender piece of salmon
Great temperature for achieving rare steak beef or delicate fish

"The precision of the Smart Probe is a game changer in the kitchen. With other devices It was a challenge to get precision control for non water based cooking, plastic free cooking, or big mixtures. I would pull together circulators, buckets, cheese cloths... all in all, I'd make a mess. Now I can pull together what I want, set the probe in and control my results. Whether I'm playing with a pot of duck confit, steeping a wort for beer, controlling fermentations, sous vide style cooking my Borscht, or otherwise perusing the science experiments of my dreams, a precision probe is the tool for me!" - Chef Julian

probe sous vide duck

With a sleek design and small footprint, the Hestan Cue Smart Probe works directly with the Cue Smart Induction cooktop and any induction safe cookware to provide seamless sous vide cooking. Even better, with the 5.5qt Smart Chef’s Pot you can go from sous vide to sear with one piece of cookware. After your steak has sous vide, just empty the water, and connect to Control Mode for the perfect edge-to-edge sear. For more tips and tricks to achieve the perfect sear after sous vide check out our Quick Guide to to Searing Sous Vide Proteins.


Slow Cooking and Confit

The technique of slow cooking, braising, and confiting is one that is a true sign of a good cook when done properly. Generally this method is used to turn those tough gristly cuts of meat which are generally on the inexpensive side into something that is completely decadent and unbelievably delicious. Slow cooking is a perfect balance of temperature and time. The higher the temperature the shorter the cook time and vice versa. That being said when slow cooking people tend to err on the side of cooking at too high of a temperature for too long, resulting in that ultra dry and stringy pot roast that requires copious amounts of gravy in order to make it palatable.

 Chipotle Carnitas

Similar to sous vide cooking, we like to use the Smart Probe to slow cook at the ideal internal temperature of the protein. For example, at 205° Fahrenheit, slow cooked pork butt falls off the bone tender but retains the juices and moisture that make it so delicious. At this internal temperature, all of the connective tissues and fats literally melt away into the meat resulting in pure perfection- in the form of Chipotle Carnitas. Not only is the Hestan Cue Smart Probe the ideal tool for slow cooking, but you can also use it with your pre-existing cookware along with the Cue Smart Induction Cooktop and still achieve amazing results. That being said, if you already have the 5.5qt Chef’s Pot, you can sear and roast all of your vegetables before adding your cooking liquid and switching to the probe for down to the degree precision temperature control. Let’s see your Crock-Pot do that!

While it may have taken us some time to finally create the cooking probe that we always wanted, we believe that great things take time and the Hestan Cue Smart Probe has totally been worth the wait. Whether you are brand new to the kitchen and looking for a little inspiration from one of our many guided recipes such as or amazing Krispy Cue Doughnuts, or the candy making hobbyist looking to make the perfect caramel, the Smart Probe is a complete game changer that will unlock your creativity, and eliminate guesswork, and additional clunky single use appliances from your kitchen. Let’s get cooking!


We love to see what you are cooking on Cue. Look for more inspiration and share your recipes or ask our Chefs for advice in our Facebook community. 

For more recipe inspiration check out the Cue app, where you can discover over 500 chef-crafted recipes, all with step-by-step video guidance from prep to plating. Download the Hestan Cue app for iOS and Android and learn more about precision cooking with Cue, and all the things you can do! 

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